The Introduction of Frank Booth in Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)

Like most erotic films made by respected arthouse filmmakers, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet polarized critics and audiences and was met with both Oscar recognition and protests. Most of the controversy concerned the film’s most infamous scene, criticized for being misogynistic as well as depraved, in which Dennis Hopper inhales oxygen and engages in abusive sexual activity with Isabella Rosellini while being watched by Kyle Maclachlan. David Cronenberg would be met with a similar mix of praise and disgust ten years later, with the controversial auto-accident-fetish film Crash.

Jesus Has Sex in The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988)

Obviously Christian groups would get upset with a film that depicts Jesus (Willem Dafoe) in a sex scene with Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey), and so it was no surprise that protests began many months prior to the release of The Last Temptation of Christ when such a scene was first reported to exist. Never mind that the scene is only part of a dream/vision Jesus has while being tempted by Satan and is not exploitive. Many would continue to slam the film without even watching it. One French Catholic group famously went to see it, but only to throw a Molotov cocktail at the screen.